What Is Collaborative Divorce?
The Collaborative Divorce Process is a private and confidential method of settling disputes with limited involvement from the courts. The process is an alternative dispute resolution method most similar to mediation. Instead of using a neutral third-party mediator to facilitate an agreement between the parties, the spouses facilitate their own agreements together with their attorneys. In typical Collaborative Divorce negotiations, all parties and their attorneys meet and work together to determine the terms of the divorce settlement outside of the courtroom.
How Does Collaborative Divorce Work?
During a Collaborative Divorce session, all parties sit together and work to understand not only the stated positions or goals of each party but the motivating factors for each position. Once all positions are thoroughly analyzed, all involved attempt to find a “win-win” solution in which the most important goals of each party are achieved. This is sometimes accomplished through more than one meeting. The spouses, rather than the courts, control the timeline in which an agreement is reached. It may take more than one session to agree to the terms of the divorce.
If no agreement is reached, or in the event that either party abandons the Collaborative Divorce Process and invokes a litigation proceeding in court, both attorneys must withdraw entirely from the case.
Collaborative Divorce Is Private
During litigation, your divorce is open to the public. Hearings and trials are open for anyone to attend. Motions, pleadings, lists of assets and sworn statements (some with negative accusations attached), are filed and available through the county clerk. Though procedures are in place to limit the availability of the documents to the public, complete privacy cannot be guaranteed.
Collaborative Divorce is strictly confidential. The paperwork filed with the court is limited and rarely contain facts about the parties involved, including details about a spouse’s personal life, health, habits, and finances. Neutral third parties are included to assist with communication skills, child development education, financial education, and data collection, as needed. These professionals are held to the same privacy standards as the party’s attorney.
Focused On Family
Like mediation, a Collaborative Divorce is favored by some because it gives the parties control over the final outcome of their case. Further, it places the well-being of its participants and their children ahead of many other factors and is less stressful and hostile than litigation. When the Collaborative divorce process is properly executed, the method is civil, courteous, and private.
Collaborative Divorce is designed to help parents that recognize that, even though the marriage has ended, the co-parenting relationship and obligations continue. This is a method that aids in preserving a cooperative relationship while moving forward in a positive way for all those involved.
Choosing An Attorney
Collaborative Divorce is still a relatively young area of family law in Texas, and consequently, many Texas attorneys have never participated in such a process. Our firm’s owner, Susan Myres, has participated in multiple sessions and is a member of Collaborative Divorce Texas. If you are in the midst of a family law dispute and want to find out if this process is right for you, trust the attorneys of Myres & Associates, PLLC to represent your rights in this rapidly growing area of alternative dispute resolution.